The first thing that I thought of when I saw the title of Chapter 6 in "The Art of Possibility" was a saying on a t-shirt that my wife owned when we first met. After all these years it has stuck with me. The slogan was "Life's a Journey, Not a Guided Tour."
This slogan is right in line with the theme of Chapter 6 and its suggestion that we all need to "lighten up" (Zander & Zander, p. 80). As I walk around campus I encounter teacher after teacher who is stressed out. Stressed out because of poor student performance on standardized tests. Stressed out because of mandates passed down from administrators. Stressed out because of what seems to be a lack of support by a government that doesn't really understand what teaching is all about, yet continues to try to reform it.
I myself subscribe to the "Life's a Journey, Not a Guided Tour" mentality. Life's way too short to get worked up over stuff that I have no control over. I've resigned myself to the fact that the state legislature is not going to be calling me for my opinion any time soon with regards to education reform. That doesn't mean I won't do what is necessary to try to exact change.
I also subscribe to the premise that part of my job is to provide a little levity to my campus. It is my belief that a happy and jovial workplace is a very good place to work. All too often people get too wrapped up in what they are doing and forget to see that their stresses can be relieved with a joke and a smile. I know the students that I taught were always appreciative that I ran my classroom in a way that learning was peppered with humor.
The other thing that I thought about wen reading Chapter 6 was CBS show "NCIS". I know, it seems a little silly. One has little to do with another. But as a NCIS junkie I've taken to living my life by some of Gibb's Rules. Many of the rules revealed through various episodes of the show have no bearing to real life. It seems a bit funny that the Gibbs Rule that I subscribe to the most is also #6: Never apologize, it's a sign of weakness. The way I interpret this particular rule is to live my life with no regrets. The decisions I make in life I need to stand behind with confidence.
Leland Kriegh's Response:
Please come to Phoenix and follow me around for a day or two cracking jokes. I needed. Stressed. When I read this in the book and when I read your post there is a part of me that wants to say, “yes, but…” I want to argue and let whomever is listening know how important my concerns are. Maybe all of our concerns are important but do we have to take them seriously? Are we more effective than we employee Rule #6 then when we take ourselves so damn seriously? I think I just answered the question myself. I still think it would be really great if you came to Phoenix to hang out and crack jokes.